This year at Big Fish, we launched our Star Fish program. We set out with a vision and the program grew in a way that was not really expected. We had one participant, whose story I would like to share (with her permission).
First, let me tell you how we met… I always DVR Oprah shows. Last year, I got very behind in watching the shows. The DVR machine ran out of space, so I had to watch them in order to keep recording! So in January 2010 this year, I was watching October 2009 shows!!
This one particular show was about women achieving their goals…. The show featured a woman named Tererai Trent who was born and raised in rural Africa where sexism and poverty have kept women and girls in a disadvantaged position. As Tererai explains, “I always wanted to go to school and was denied the opportunity due to poverty which has created gender inequity in most of rural Africa.”
Her story was extraordinary in that she was a young girl from Africa, married off to a man, she had 5 children with him but she also had goals and dreams. She wrote them down on a piece of paper (one of our Big Fish basic tools!). She put that paper in a plastic bag in a can and buried it under a rock. Tererai wanted to get an education in the United Ststates for herself and her kids. Her long, beautiful story very short, she did just that, she not only got just a basic education, last year in December 2009, she received her Doctorate degree and became Dr. Tererai Trent. Give yourself a treat and watch her short Oprah Video: http://www.oprah.com/world/Tererai-Trent-Returns-to-Zimbabwe-to-Share-Her-Story-Video
I was so moved by her story; tears running down my face, as I wrote down her name so that I could call her. Yes, I called her (Big Fish basic tool = Bold Action)! I picked up the phone the next night and called her. She was gracious enough to take my call. I invited her to be a participant in our first ever, Star Fish program that was starting the next week! We got her a plane ticket to Austin where the first retreat was being held.
She was a light for our group, bringing so much gratitude, wisdom, humbleness, and desire to grow even more.
What has happened thus far in the program, is all the participants from the program rolled up their sleeves not only to accomplish their own goals but to be vulnerable and share their struggles, their visions, their goals and successes. And most of all, share themselves. All of them, realizing just 6 months into the program (with another 6 months to go) that they are truly more alike than different no matter if they are from a wealthy family here in the United States or a humble community in Tanzania, Africa. (And this year Dr. Trent just launched her own company: http://tinogona-consulting.com/ !! We are all so excited for her! She is an awesome speaker, trainer and evaluation expert. )
A true sisterhood has been formed. The women cry together, celebrate together, accomplish together and support each other in ways that continue to amaze me. They share their money, they share their homes, they share their families, they share their wisdom, they share their knowledge, they share their experiences and the sharing does not stop. What I realize is that when women come together to accomplish their visions every vision includes supporting others in big ways. That is a Star Fish.